Medical Fun Facts Episode 74: Bordetella

It’s Monday 10 July 2017. I’ve just returned from a week’s holiday. I was so happy to be warm and moist the whole time.

In some browsers, the embedded YouTube video doesn't render. Here is the link https://youtu.be/WvuHTMAl_J8

Thanks for subscribing and listening to Medical Fun Facts.

Show notes are available at http://DrGaryLum.com/Blog

So I’m back to the alphabet and after Acinetobacter tonight I’m looking at Bordetella.

Over the last week or so I’ve come across a couple of people with pertussis which is the medical name for whooping cough.

Whooping cough gets its name from the sound made, especially in infected children as they cough.

The cough is described as a paroxysm consisting of repeated coughs without breathing in which gets followed by a high-pitched whoop when the patient draws in a breath.

Sometimes, the paroxysm can be followed by vomiting.

The cough can last a month or more.

We’re currently seeing an upswing in whooping cough in adolescents and adults because the immunity associated with childhood vaccination wanes over time. It’s why we’re also seeing an increase in uptake of the vaccine in adults preparing to have children and grandparents who have an expectation of close contact with a new grandchild.

So, what’s the big deal with whooping cough? Why do public health authorities get so excited about?

It’s the complications that can occur. The list of complications can be quite scary and is a good reason for ensuring immunisation in children as part of a national program.

The complications include:

A spike in lung blood pressure

Pneumonia

Collapse of a lung

Seizures

Brain lesions

Weight loss

Hernias

Death

It’s the lung complications that are the worst. Just imagine those repeated paroxysms of coughing which means a patient cannot breathe in enough during a coughing fit. In a baby this may lead to poor blood oxygenation and the effort of coughing causes extreme exhaustion which leads to malnourishment. This leads to the brain lesion which can manifest as seizures.

Most of the severe complications and deaths occur in infants younger than 6 months. These patients are too young to be immunised. Their health relies on good population coverage of the immunisation.

It’s a fact that in communities with good vaccine coverage, severe complications and deaths are uncommon. Unless you and your children have a medical reason not to be immunised, failure to immunise contributes to deaths of children.

The greatest burden of disease is in communities where there is poor immunisation and widespread malnutrition along with widespread enteric and respiratory infections.

Whooping cough is caused by Bordetella pertussis. It’s a short Gram-negative bacillus. There are two other medically relevant species in the genus, but the pertussis species is the most important.

Humans are the main reservoir of infection.

The incubation period is around 9 to 10 days in most patients. This is the time between being exposed to the infection and the onset of the first symptoms.

Patients are most infectious during the catarrhal stage when the cough is more irritating rather than forming paroxysms. The level of infectivity drops after a week or so of the paroxysms and patients are not considered contagious after 5-days of specific treatment.

For unknown reasons infections are more common in female patients

Secondary infection rates in susceptible household contacts can be as high as 90%

Maternal antibodies can be transferred across the placenta so in some countries pregnant women are immunised.

I’m going to leave it here and continue this next week.  

 

Medical Fun Facts Episode 74 Bordetella

Medical Fun Facts Episode 74 Bordetella

And so, ends another episode of Medical Fun Facts. If you have suggestions or requests for future shows please let me know. You can find the show notes for every episode at my blog http://DrGaryLum.com/Blog

You can find updates in the Facebook page. You can get the address in the show notes. Feel free to like and share each show.

Medical Fun Facts is available in the iTunes podcast store. If that’s the way you prefer to consume podcasts, please search for Medical Fun Facts and subscribe.  https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/blog-gary-lum/id1170771102 

If you think more people would enjoy this show, please head over to iTunes and give Medical Fun Facts a five-star rating and please leave a comment. By doing so iTunes will rank the show higher and make it easier to find.

Medical Fun Facts is also on Stitcher so if you use an Android device, you can download the Stitcher app and listen to the show in Stitcher. Android users should be able to find the Stitcher app in the Google Play store.

Like iTunes, if you visit the show on the Stitcher website and leave a review, the Stitcher algorithms will improve the show’s ranking and more people will be able to find it. Feel free to share the link via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media platform.

I’ll put the link in the show notes.

The Stitcher link is http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=126994&refid=stpr

If you disagree with anything in these podcasts or if you would like to voice a different view, please feel free to write a comment. If I have said something incorrect I welcome correction. Please also feel free to share your comments on social media.

 

Just remember, for shows with video I go off script for good portions so please listen or watch to catch everything not written in the blog post.

The video can be found at http://medfunfacts.co/YouTube

Tweet me at http://Twitter.com/DrGaryLum

Send me a comment on Facebook at http://Facebook.com/DoctorGaryLum

E-mail me at DrGaryLum.com/contact